President Trump’s lawyer Rudy Giuliani says he hasn’t yet been told why the president – or Attorney General William Barr – fired a top federal prosecutor in New York.
But Giuliani – a 1980s predecessor of fired U.S. Attorney Geoffrey Berman in the Southern District of New York – told an interviewer that “bullsh–” investigations by Berman’s office may have had something to do with it.
Those probes include one of Giuliani himself as well as an investigation of former Trump lawyer Michael Cohen, Giuliani said during an interview with the New York Daily News.
AG BARR SAYS TRUMP HAS FIRED SDNY FEDERAL PROSECUTOR WHO REFUSED TO LEAVE; PRESIDENT SAYS HE’S ‘NOT INVOLVED’
Giuliani told the paper he was particularly irked that word of the investigation into his Ukraine activities was leaked to the media.
“I’m offended when I see people write that,” Giuliani said of being under probe. “If they’re investigating me, they’re doing it in the most surreptitious way possible. It’s the strangest investigation I’ve ever heard of. … I’m upset that someone’s giving away this information. I have nothing against Berman, but I would like him to clarify what the hell is going on.”
“If they’re investigating me, they’re doing it in the most surreptitious way possible. It’s the strangest investigation I’ve ever heard of. “
Berman’s office was reportedly looking into whether Giuliani’s Ukraine dealings violated federal laws on foreign lobbying. Giuliani said he possesses “documents” that prove he did nothing wrong, the Daily News reported.
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“There are some people there who like to play around with the reputations of people around the president,” Giuliani asserted, referring to Berman’s staff.
As for Cohen, who was convicted of making payments linked to two alleged romantic affairs involving Trump, and was serving a prison sentence until recently being freed because of a coronavirus-related early release, Giuliani suggested to the Daily News that the Cohen case was beneath the dignity of a federal prosecutor’s office.
“That crime was complete bullsh–,” Giuliani told the newspaper. “We don’t prosecute people for personal sex things. You don’t do that sh–.”
Berman said Saturday he planned to leave his position “immediately” after Barr announced that Deputy U.S. Attorney Audrey Strauss had been appointed to be Berman’s interim replacement.
On Friday night, Berman initially said he intended to stay in the position, alleging he had learned “in a press release” that Barr said he would be “stepping down.” Berman denied submitting his resignation.
Barr’s initial statement also said that the U.S. attorney in New Jersey, Craig Carpenito, would be replacing Berman on an interim basis – with President Trump intending to nominate Securities and Exchange Commission Chairman Jay Clayton as the permanent replacement, pending Senate approval.
After Barr announced Saturday that Strauss would take the interim post instead, Carpenito released a statement in support of Strauss.
On Saturday, Barr accused Berman of launching a “public spectacle” with his Friday comments, and said he had asked President Trump to fire Berman – and claimed Trump had done so.
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But Trump, when asked about Berman’s departure Saturday, denied he had any involvement.
“That’s all up to the attorney general,” Trump said, referring to Barr. “Attorney General Barr is working on that. That’s his department, not my department.
“We have a very capable attorney general so that’s really up to him. I’m not involved.”